Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Constitution Review - Cross River Elders Call for Local Government Autonomy

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Calabar — CONCERNED elders and stakeholders in Cross River State have called on the National Assembly to remove the control of local government funds from state governors.

They also called for abrogation of Joint Allocation account between state and local governments. According to them, state governors have made it impossible to feel the impact of local government administration.

Speaking at the public session on the review of the 1999 Constitution organised by the House of Representatives, elders and stakeholders from Obubra/Etung Constituency of the state expressed dismay over the alleged overbearing influence of state governments towards the control of allocations for local governments.

Speaking through Mr. T. Mgban, the elders said local government administration remained the closest to the grassroots but regretted that most states governors had taken total control of council funds.

They called for the enactment of laws that would stop governors from tampering with council funds.

Besides, the stakeholders called for a defined tenure for elected local government chairmen and councillors in the constitution as well as financial autonomy and independence for state Houses of Assembly as was the case in the National Assembly.

They called for the scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commissions, SIEC, which they said had brought more pain than blessing to the Nigerian nation and a threat to democracy as the governors used the platform to install their cronies and stooges in the various council areas.

The issue of creation of additional state in the South-East caused division as many constituencies voted for the creation of additional state.

Obubra/Etung Constituency rejected it, claiming that it would affect their agitation for the creation of Ogoja State.

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